My Favourite Art Spaces in Abu Dhabi

“Art enables us to find ourselves, and lose ourselves at the same time.” 

– Thomas Merton – 

Warehouse 421

Located in Mina Zayed near the Dhow Harbour, Warehouse 421 has been my favourite art space, since moving to Abu Dhabi from Al Ain, just over two years ago. With its industrial look, and varied programme, which includes talks, workshops, and films, it supports local artists, and creates a vibrant space for creative interactions.

This is where, through Rooftop Rhythms that I first encountered the Emirati spoken word artist, Afra Atiq. Not only does she breaks the mould of how Emirati women are often perceived, but her powerful words give me goosebumps, every time I listen to her.

Most of the events, as well as entry to the gallery space, are free of charge.

Opening Times: Daily from 10am – 8pm (closed on Mondays)


New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD)

The Arts Centre at NYUAD runs, not only a strong visual arts programme, but also includes films, music, theatre, dance, and performance poetry, in their yearly offering.

The Institute, on the other hand, offers various interesting talks on a variety of subjects, open to the public. These talks are recorded, and can be accessed on Soundcloud.

Many of the events, as well as entry to their art exhibitions, are free of charge. Their new season starts in September, and for the first time, they will also introduce a membership programme.

Opening Times:  The Art Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 12h00 – 20h00, but closed on Sundays. Other timings vary, depending on the event, but most take place in the evenings.


Etihad Modern Art Gallery

It is not a space I visit often, but they do focus on the work of local artists, and the café attached to the gallery is a great place to visit afterwards.

Opening Times:

  • Opening times Art Gallery:  Saturday to Thursday 10 am – 10 pm  (closed Fridays) – FREE entrance
  • Opening times Art House Café:  Saturday to Thursday 9 am – 11.30 pm  (Fridays 12 pm – 12 am)


Manarat al Saadiyat

Home to the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in November, it offers various other exhibitions and events during the year. It is also where both Cinema Space, and Cinema Akil hold various free film screenings. I particularly enjoy the movies focusing on the stories of this part of the world, as I would otherwise not be exposed to them. The programmes are varied, and they make for a refreshing alternative to the big budget Hollywood movies dominating movie theatres.

Most of the events, as well as entry to the art exhibitions, are free of charge.

Opening Times: General opening times are daily from 9h00 – 20h00, but different events have different timings.


The Louvre

Apart from an amazing permanent exhibition, in which art works are regularly changed, the Louvre also runs temporary exhibitions and other art related events.

Obtained by the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for a staggering $ 450 million, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, will, after much anticipation, be unveiled on 18 September.

The Louvre runs an Art Club Membership Programme, which gives you unlimited access to the museum and its various exhibitions for a year, as well as special events and previews.

The Museum Café is well worth a visit for its excellent food and lovely views, while the rooftop terrace bar, the Art Lounge, will reopen on 22 September, when the weather cools down slightly.

Entrance Fee: 63 AED

Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 10h00 – 22h00. Closed on Mondays.

** Click on the Teal Coloured Words for built-in links to the respective websites.

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